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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for buying my first full suspension

    Hey All!

    I am a fairly new rider and am looking to buy my first full suspension bike. I've been riding for around a year now on a Specialized Pitch Women's. I'm having a hard time really trying to figure out what I want or really what I'm looking for in my first FS. I rode a Trek Remedy 7 rental a few days ago and absolutely loved it. But its a bit out of my price range for right now. I'm open to buying used.

    So, suggestions on what may be a good bike for me. I've got a budget of around $1500 so used is probably my best bet when it comes to a FS. I am 5' 9" and around 190lbs. I ride mostly singletrack with steep(ish) climbs in Tennessee (So think a lot of leaf litter and loose dirt) and slickrock when I'm home in Arizona.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!

  2. #2
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    For $1500 you won't get much new so look at used. Also check out some youtube videos as there's tons of help on how to buy a mountain bike.

  3. #3
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    The 2019 Giant Stance 2 is priced at $1,500 but you can find a much better FS bike in the used market than this bike. Try looking around Pink Bike's buy/sell market.
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  4. #4
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    You can also find the Marin Hawk Hill and Rift Zone (27.5 and 29) for a tad more than that.

    No review has anything bad to say about either bike. Hawk Hill specifically preferred by a couple of reviews over the Stance (actually the Trance, I think). Looking, the Marins are a much more attractive bike at that price point. The Stance has that godawful no-pivot-chainstay suspension (which may be fine in operation and use, but is so cringey).

    As a new rider, evaluating and even finding used bikes can be a challenge (finding depending on where you live and the vibrance of the MTB community). Also, Pinkbike's sweetspot is picking up a really expensive FS bike for $2500, or a HT for $1500, not a FS bike, but YMMV.

  5. #5
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    Stay away from a full suspension bike unless you have at least $2500 to spend. You can get an okay hardtail for $1500. Any full suspension bike at $1500 is going to be complete junk.

  6. #6
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    https://www.bikeconnection.net/produ...l-290122-1.htm plenty of these available, which IMHO is a pretty decent start for a FS bike. They have solid reviews, reliable and sturdy, if not top notch components.
    http://reviews.mtbr.com/marin-hawk-hill-review
    You might also check out the Diamondback Catch or Release. They are similarly, maybe slightly better spec Ed on the base models. They are listed at about $1800, but there are hefty corporate discounts available if you can wrangle one.

  7. #7
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    Best advise I can give with 60 years of riding, donít! Buy the best HT you can and you will be happy with thousands of miles with way less maintanance, weight and repair costs. Safe Travels! Oh wait, one more, you will have more fun!
    Last edited by Pedalon2018; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:25 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    Stay away from a full suspension bike unless you have at least $2500 to spend. You can get an okay hardtail for $1500. Any full suspension bike at $1500 is going to be complete junk.
    Not true.

  9. #9
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    $1500 will take you pretty far in the used market. I world stick with something around 120mm-110mm rear travel. Lots of trances sand ex# on my Craiglist at that price point.

    Pink bike tends to have interesting options as well.

    Depending on when/where you're in AZ it might be easier to find a deal on something in good condition.

    There are deals out there but you may want to be picky about their condition so you don't have to do maintenance out of the gate.

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  10. #10
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    I'd demo/rent a wide variety of bikes and then go look for whichever bike you liked most in the used market. Full suspension gets complicated quickly, not all bikes ride the same and not all full suspensions feel the same.

  11. #11
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    As noted above, to have a new rider on the hunt for a used bike when they say something like this:
    I'm having a hard time really trying to figure out what I want or really what I'm looking for
    Is just inviting confusion and a potential mistake with the wrong bike, the wrong size, or a bike that needs an immediate fork and shock rebuild. Although your heart is in the right place because it is where the best deal will be found if you have the patience and knowledge to buy smart.

    Similarly, telling a newb rider to go ride everything and then buy what they like is another recipe for likely confusion and also for tempting them with muilti-thousand dollar bikes.

    Fit is important, of course, and the personal aspects of that are important, but other than pure intuition, I doubt OP is going to have a strong preference of reach vs. stack height or the other personal preferences that many of you have developed over the years.

    The hardtail advice is pretty good though. Simpler is often better and is almost always cheaper. Although I might trust OP to state "I have enjoyed my rides on various full squish bikes more than on hardtails."

    There are some pretty amazing sub-$2000 full-suspension bikes out there, and if you get it up to $2500, the selection multiplies, but requires online purchase (Canyon, YT, Commencal) and size/fit knowledge/guesswork.

    If OP can get a leg over one of the Marins, Giants or Spesh (Stumpjumper ST) budget FS and check for reasonable fit, I think s/he will be pretty happy with the choice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    As noted above, to have a new rider on the hunt for a used bike when they say something like this:
    I'm having a hard time really trying to figure out what I want or really what I'm looking for
    Is just inviting confusion and a potential mistake with the wrong bike, the wrong size, or a bike that needs an immediate fork and shock rebuild. Although your heart is in the right place because it is where the best deal will be found if you have the patience and knowledge to buy smart.

    Similarly, telling a newb rider to go ride everything and then buy what they like is another recipe for likely confusion and also for tempting them with muilti-thousand dollar bikes.

    Fit is important, of course, and the personal aspects of that are important, but other than pure intuition, I doubt OP is going to have a strong preference of reach vs. stack height or the other personal preferences that many of you have developed over the years.

    The hardtail advice is pretty good though. Simpler is often better and is almost always cheaper. Although I might trust OP to state "I have enjoyed my rides on various full squish bikes more than on hardtails."

    There are some pretty amazing sub-$2000 full-suspension bikes out there, and if you get it up to $2500, the selection multiplies, but requires online purchase (Canyon, YT, Commencal) and size/fit knowledge/guesswork.

    If OP can get a leg over one of the Marins, Giants or Spesh (Stumpjumper ST) budget FS and check for reasonable fit, I think s/he will be pretty happy with the choice.
    What's your actual advice? Up her budget to get a YT online?

    OP is a fully functioning human being. She can test ride bikes and make up her own mind.

    All we know about her is she has been riding for a year, and wants to buy a FS bike. There's no evidence to say she doesn't know what size to get.

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  13. #13
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    I'd recommend riding some more bikes, for one. Lots of great bikes out there right now, but not all will feel "right" for you.

    If you're not sure what you want, be flexible with what you choose to try out. And be willing to increase your budget. Maybe you couldn't afford to buy one outright immediately, but maybe you could if you saved your money for awhile. That's how the last few bikes in my house have been bought. Budget wasn't the absolute deciding factor. Rather, my wife and I had in mind what we wanted, and the cost determined how long we'd have to save.

    I'm in the process of building a bike now that doesn't exactly have a budget. I've been wanting a new bike for awhile, but similar to you, wasn't exactly sure what I wanted. I demo'd bikes on and off over the past year. Money has been relatively tight this year because my wife and I just bought a house a year ago and have expenses, so I couldn't just buy a complete bike and call it done. I've been patient and bided my time until I found a bike that really spoke to me. That bike came up a month or so ago, and it was used. However, the seller was only selling the frame. I'd have to build it up. Which actually worked fine. I had the cash on hand to buy the frame, and I had the ability to save a little each week to buy new components a little at a time. So that's how I'm approaching this build. I'll probably wind up buying some of the components lightly used, too, to save a little money where I can. I've got other bikes I can ride, so it's not like I'm putting off riding altogether. So I can afford to be patient.

    FWIW, I tried hardtails and full suspensions. Decided on a hardtail.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfinator View Post
    What's your actual advice? Up her budget to get a YT online?

    OP is a fully functioning human being. She can test ride bikes and make up her own mind.

    All we know about her is she has been riding for a year, and wants to buy a FS bike. There's no evidence to say she doesn't know what size to get.

    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk
    She can also read what I wrote, I assume. And take it for what it's worth. Mainly, that there are some decent, low-cost new bikes out there, and as long as the fit is reasonable, should serve well should all the other advice about buying used and riding dozens of bikes prove unfeasible. The used advice is good advice, as is the ride a lot of bikes, but depending on where OP lives (number of shops and riders and demo rides and decent used bikes), may not be practical.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    She can also read what I wrote, I assume. And take it for what it's worth. Mainly, that there are some decent, low-cost new bikes out there, and as long as the fit is reasonable, should serve well should all the other advice about buying used and riding dozens of bikes prove unfeasible. The used advice is good advice, as is the ride a lot of bikes, but depending on where OP lives (number of shops and riders and demo rides and decent used bikes), may not be practical.
    Who recommended she spend time and money riding "dozens" of bikes?

    One poster said a "wide variety", but that can be accomplished at one shop in and hour or two.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TennesseeMTB93 View Post
    Hey All!

    I am a fairly new rider and am looking to buy my first full suspension bike. I've been riding for around a year now on a Specialized Pitch Women's. I'm having a hard time really trying to figure out what I want or really what I'm looking for in my first FS. I rode a Trek Remedy 7 rental a few days ago and absolutely loved it. But its a bit out of my price range for right now. I'm open to buying used.

    So, suggestions on what may be a good bike for me. I've got a budget of around $1500 so used is probably my best bet when it comes to a FS. I am 5' 9" and around 190lbs. I ride mostly singletrack with steep(ish) climbs in Tennessee (So think a lot of leaf litter and loose dirt) and slickrock when I'm home in Arizona.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions!
    Hi OP. What is your reason for wanting a full suspension bike? Perhaps the answer to that question might help folks here to offer advice more specific to your situation.

  17. #17
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    I agree that you should definitely try to demo what you can. Having said that, I saw a 2017 Trek fuel ex 8 (29er) on pinkbike for $1850 OBO.. Seems to be a reputable seller. Size is 17.5 but you might be an 18.5 on that bike, not sure. Just thought I'd mention it since that's actually a good deal and looks to be in nice shape. Anyway, good luck in your search.

  18. #18
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    I've been looking at a lot of bikes in the $1000-2500 range lately.

    New, there aren't many FS bikes that come in below $1500. The corporate discounts on the Diamondback Release/Catch/Clutch bikes can come close to that, depending on the deals. I have heard rumors from people who have talked with DB customer support, saying that there should be some "good deals" for black friday. So that may be worth watching.

    Norco has the Fluid FS that comes close to the price range you want as well (~$1650). So maybe watching for a deal there could be fruitful. Otherwise, used is likely the best bet, but there its hard to give recommendations, as you/we don't really control whats available. So usually that means you either get to choose to wait for the right bike/price, or you just get the best thing available at the time you want it.

    Myself, I'm leaning towards getting a plus HT for my first "real" mountain bike, as a compromise of sorts. The plus sized tires will help calm down the trail chatter a bit compared to a "normal" hardtail. And of course, at any given price, the HT will usually be spec'd better than the FS.

    If it helps, my two front runners atm, are the Whyte 901 ($1400), and Nukeproof scout 275 race ($1350). Another option to consider, to see if it will work for you.

    Good luck on the search .

  19. #19
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    admittedly it is over budget.. but the Liv Pique 2 is a very nice bike coming in just under $2K

    https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/pique-2


    obviously it is $500~ish over budget but it is well spec and new with full warranty and whatnot..

    used could be a fine option as well but you'll have to check stuff out and there is more that could need work with a FS bike (rear shock, pivots..etc)

    if you buy a $1500 used bike and then need $300~400 in parts / labor getting it sorted you'd about be at the price of the Liv bike anyways..


    edit.. oh duh also the Embolden 2 is basically right on budget at $1550 brand new.. nice bike as well

    https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/embolden-2

  20. #20
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    Funny coincidence, but there's a Diamondback Release 1 for $1425 over at REI that I was looking at earlier today. If I were in the market for a FS, that'd be really tempting.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by matadorCE View Post
    I'd demo/rent a wide variety of bikes and then go look for whichever bike you liked most in the used market. Full suspension gets complicated quickly, not all bikes ride the same and not all full suspensions feel the same.
    Ride as many as you can. I have a Cannondale Scalpel. I love it. a friend bought the same model. hated it. to each their own.
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  22. #22
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    My advice, and this is coming from a bike shop employee is ride what you have a little longer and SAVE for the bike you really want. Nothing like buying something that is a compromise. And as a new rider I'd personally stay away from the used market because you don't know how the bike was ridden, condition of the frame or components, and if any repairs need to be made.

    Spending $1500 on a used bike then dropping another $400-500 or more on replacing parts, you'd be better off just buying a new bike that you like.

    I'd would also check out Marin. They make some nice FS bikes with good specs close to your price range.

  23. #23
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    The Marin Hawk Hill 1 looks like a helluva bike for that price range.

  24. #24
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    You can get a lot of bike for $1500 if you shop around. Hawk hills can be had around 1200. Same with diamondbacks from various places/corporate discount.

    If you liked the remedy, check out the diamondback release. Its comparable, maybe better. Its often on sale and its a crazy value for what you pay.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    You can get a lot of bike for $1500 if you shop around. Hawk hills can be had around 1200. Same with diamondbacks from various places/corporate discount.

    If you liked the remedy, check out the diamondback release. Its comparable, maybe better. Its often on sale and its a crazy value for what you pay.
    Where would one find a deal on a hawk hill for $1200 or thereabouts?

    I'm still looking for a new bike myself, and if I knew of a place that sold them for that, I may be interested.

    Thanks .

  26. #26
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    Ive seen performance bike run sales on them for 12ish. It's a good looking bike in person!

    I think REI has them too.

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  28. #28
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    As a former employee of both Performance and REI, I can emphatically discourage Performance and encourage REI.

    REI has several bikes for you:
    Diamondback Release 1 $1400
    Cannondale Habit 2 $1600
    Ghost Lanao 2.7 $1200
    Ghost Kato/Lanao 3.7 $1400
    (Lanao is the women's version of the Kato)
    Cannondale Habit 2, women's $2000

    I have not looked into the specs of those bikes, but they are all on sale at a significant discount now. You may or may not want a women's- specific version. Not all bikes designed "for" a gender really make sense.

  29. #29
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    Performance seems to be very dependent on individual store management. There are several in Dallas and one fairly stands out, the others are just bike big box stores. I just buy stuff there so it doesn't make much difference to me. I have even had a decent service experience at one of the big box locations.

  30. #30
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    My friend shared this article with me on Facebook about Performance Bike. It seems they are going bankrupt:

    https://www.velonews.com/2018/11/new...FPfvb2hnN8Lq-o
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  31. #31
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    Well, that's interesting. There seem to be too many PB stores in Dallas and they are all big sq. ft. But there are other small chains with multiple locations that seem to be doing ok. The bike shop business seems strange.

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